(Rousimar Palhares…future middleweight superstar?)
We recently told you that the UFC had signed Brazilian fighter Rousimar Palhares and now it looks like his first action is being slated for May. MMA Junkie is reporting that Palhares will pop his UFC cherry Mary 24th. His opponent will be Ivan Salaverry, who is 12-5 and has been spotty in the UFC against good fighters. He owns a notable win against Joe Riggs, but has struggled in the UFC since. Salaverry literally just received the fight offer and it’s expected to move forward.
Palhares trains with Brazilian Top Team and recently won Fury Fighting Championship’s 185lb Grand Prix tournament. He’s won five fights in a row and is a die-hard disciple of BJJ – he’s won five of his fights by submission. He’s never been knocked out and his lone professional loss was to Arthur Cesar.
This should be a good one for Palhares to get his feet wet in the UFC. Dana White and Co. are hoping he’s a future star in the lagging middleweight division and he looks to have the skills to fulfill their hopes. By the time the fight rolls around, it will be a year since Salaverry has fought – a loss to Terry Martin. An injury kept him away from the game for a while, but if he’s at full speed now, he’ll be a nice test for Palhares.
Their fight will be on the UFC 84 card – which was originally UFC 85 until UFC 83 was…what number are we on again? Anyway, you guys know that old chestnut by now. The possible heavy hitters on the card could be Tito Ortiz in his UFC swan song vs. Lyoto Machida and the Sean Sherk/BJ Penn fight-to-the-death match. With new blood like Palhares thrown in, too, I’m digging how this one’s shaping up.